“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”
Ephesians 6:10-12, 16 ESV
The devil is not just a liar. He’s completely strategic. And conniving. And ruthless. He “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His one desire is to destroy the kingdom of heaven, bit by bit, soul by soul. He fights with nothing to defend, and so… nothing to lose.
None of that is meant for putting the enemy on a pedestal, that anyone should cower in fear of him. Rather, it’s the truth of just how real the spiritual forces are against all of humanity. Specifically, as those who love the Lord God, we are high-value targets that evil forces seek to take down.
We live on the earth temporarily, and then, one of two places for the rest of eternity. There’s a very real and powerful all-out war occurring at this very moment for our souls. We are fighting for one kingdom or the other. There is no middle ground. There is no “on the fence”. If we’re not actively fighting for the salvation of God’s children, we are not doing nothing. But we are actually silently partnering with the enemy in the absence of action and awareness.
We need to be intent, alert, and ARMED.
What’s so tricky about the tactics of our enemy… is that though we expect him to show up in unwanted ways… though we know he’s there and even anticipate his opposition… though we know there’s a sizable target on our backs… sometimes we are still caught by surprise and get the wind knocked out of us.
We don’t face a second-rate, inexperienced soldier. And he hasn’t any hint of compassion or boundaries. He will work his way right to the very core of what you fear the most. He will hit you with an unexpected ambush of what will cause your heart to be shaken and your knees to drop in paralysis. In other words, he knows right where to get you and, expected or not, leave you gasping for air.
But here’s the great reason we have an enemy so intent after us. We are the heirs of the one and only most powerful Lord God. He’s the creator of the heavens, the earth, and everything else ever created. He is El Eyon, God Most High, “the sovereign ruler of all the universe” (Arthur, 1992/2000). We are heirs. Of the ruler of the universe. We are his loved, valued children. Read that again. He loves us. He cherishes us. We have been graced with His divine family crown, and given unlimited access to the Father himself through the work of Jesus.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].”
Psalms 91:1 AMP
Our God has defeated death, the enemy, and all the powers of hell. And through Jesus, we can confidently partake in that same victory.
And that… is why our souls are so very valued, by both good and evil.
Yes, there is a high price for our souls but our Father who has already paid the impossible cost has given us all we need to fight with courage. He has armed us with truth, righteousness, peace, and most importantly faith. It’s the “shield of faith” that will repel the flaming arrows of the enemy that soar towards us.
But in order to make use of the mighty spiritual weapons God has armed us with, we must actually “take them up”. God doesn’t require us to be qualified, only to be willing participants. Which means we must actually participate. When he gives us an action, we must take it.
This won’t always be easy.
In one season, you may be a well-trained, battle-tested warrior holding high her shield of faith… Sometimes our battles are fought in a day.
In another season, you may be an everyday gal tending to her quiet life when you meet an unsuspecting blow. Nothing adds up. You feel defeated. Before you can call for help, your loving Father sends immediate back up. The squad finds you face-down in the trenches, and urges you to get back up. You slowly rise, the sword of the spirit in one hand, and the shield of faith in the other. You hesitantly, but persistently proceed… Sometimes our battles are fought day after day.
Here’s the key: Yes, the closer we grow to God, the harder the enemy works to get to us. But closer also means we hear His voice quicker (John 10:27). His voice is not in the chaos and confusion, but in the stillness and nearness of our spirits to His (1 Kings 19, James 4:8, 1 Corinthians 14:33).
Keep drawing near.Keep getting up.Keep fighting.
Arthur, K. (1992/2000). LORD, I Want to Know You. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8 ESV
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV